Romantic Comedies to Love: Intolerable Cruelty

I read that fewer and fewer romantic comedies are getting made (R.I.P. Romantic Comedies: Why Harry Wouldn’t Meet Sally in 2013) and I think that’s pretty sad. Now on the one hand, comedy is a difficult genre to pull of really well, in my opinion. You need a great script, beguiling characters, and an interesting conflict. On the other hand, it’s also difficult to fail abysmally, because even a moderately well-written comedy is enjoyable to watch. Your mileage may vary, of course.

So in the interest of the romantic comedy, I thought I’d share some of my favorites, and first out is the fantastic movie from 2003, Intolerable Cruelty, directed by the Coen brothers!

Intolerable Cruelty Movie Poster

This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The script is brilliant, the dialog wonderfully witty, and George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones do a great job as Miles Massey, the bored, extremely successful divorce lawyer, and Marylin Rexroth, the woman who married her husband only so she could later divorce him and get half his money. Or how about these quotes:


Miles: “So you propose that, in spite of demonstrable infidelity on your part, your unoffending wife should be tossed out on her ear?”

Hopeful client: “Is it possible?”

“It’s a challenge.”


Marylin: “I’ve invested five good years in my marriage to Rex and I’ve nailed his ass fair and square. Now I’m going to have it stuffed, mounted, and have my lady friends come over and throw darts at it.”


Marylin: “They bought Massey’s argument. If I lied or cheated and was with Rex only for his money, then he shouldn’t have to give me any.

Rich, divorced friend: “Well, that makes no sense. Why else would you put in all those years?”


Or the two adversaries at an illicit dinner:

Marylin: “What was your performance about this afternoon?”

Miles: “What did your lawyer say?”

Marylin: “Freddy, thinks you’re a buffoon. He says you’ve been too successful. You’re bored, complacent and you’re on your way down.”

Miles: “But you don’t think so.”

Marylin: “How do you know?”

Miles: “Why would you be here?”

Marylin: “Why did you ask me?”

Miles: “Can’t I be curious?”

Marylin: “About what?”

Miles: “Do you ever answer a question?”

Marylin: “Do you?”


The movie reminds me of classic screwball comedies, and it’s wonderfully ironic, fast-paced, witty, and it’s got a surprisingly touching love story at its core, when the two cynical characters fall so irresistibly in love. If the part where they try to murder each other is perhaps a bit over the top even for me, the way the two turn the tables on each other throughout the movie just makes me chuckle non-stop.

Ah, I’m going to have to go watch it one more time!

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One Response to Romantic Comedies to Love: Intolerable Cruelty

  1. Pingback: Romantic Comedies to Love: Dan in Real Life | Sara Thorn

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